Last updated: April 6, 2020
Employers have access to an Adderall drug test when their test panel includes amphetamines. Physicians commonly prescribe Adderall for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, it can also be prescribed to treat narcolepsy and other health conditions as well. Although intended to be distributed only by prescription, the drug is readily available on the black market.
The average age of adults who abuse Adderall falls between 19 and 39 years old.
Adderall, and other ADD/ADHD medications, have become increasingly popular on college campuses. As a matter of fact, in 2006, research indicated that 4% of high school and college students admitted to using prescription stimulants as a “study drug.” That number has continually increased with 25% or more students now using these medications as “study drugs” today.
Students who have actual prescriptions for Adderall often “divert” their prescriptions. That means they share, trade, or sell the medication for premium prices. For instance, a single 35-milligram dose of Adderall can sell for $25 or more. Therefore, many students view “diverting” their prescriptions as a money maker.
When taken as directed, there is little chance of someone forming a dependency leading to addiction. Physicians prescribe the lowest possible dose and gradually increase the medication until their patient’s symptoms are under control.
However, if you increase the dosage, the story changes.
Use to abuse
Adderall is not intended for recreational use, however, it’s capacity to create both euphoric and stimulant effects has made it a popular drug for those wanting to stay up for long periods of time. In addition to feeling wide awake and ready for anything, users experience an extreme sense of focus. Adderall users experience the peak of their high about three hours after ingestion.
Amphetamines work by stimulating the central nervous system. The brain forms a tolerance to the drug over time meaning that it accepts Adderall as being a normal part of the body’s make-up. When this happens, it takes a higher dose of the drug to achieve the desired stimulant effect.
This puts users at a higher risk of forming an addiction that can cause severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, serious heart problems, and even sudden death due to overdose, stroke, or heart attack.
Available in pill or capsule form, it may take up to an hour or so for users to begin to experience the effects of the drug. Addicts often resort to chewing them or crush the pills for snorting. Some even mix Adderall with water and inject it directly into the bloodstream.
In hopes of avoiding suspicion, drug dealers, teens, and others who misuse the drug use street names, such as addy, bennies, copilots, or smart pills.
Determining the detection method
Any drug test that includes a panel for amphetamines can be deemed an Adderall drug test. We offer amphetamine testing on all of our standard drug tests from the 5 panel to the far more comprehensive 12 panel test.
The amphetamine panel also identifies methamphetamines.
The various drug testing methods offer different periods of detection. That includes blood tests. However, employers rarely use them for employee drug testing. They are often requested in a post-accident circumstance, though, as they identify current impairment. This can be vital information for those trying to determine responsibility and cause.
Urine drug test
The urine drug test is by far the most widely used employee drug test on the market. In fact, urine tests account for at least 90% of the employee drug tests submitted each year. It’s cost-effective and, as are all the test methods, extremely accurate. Moreover, continuing advances in the testing technology along with today’s highly sophisticated laboratory equipment make it nearly impossible for someone to falsify this test.
Urine tests identify Adderall for about three days after using the drug. However, in the case of someone that has used increasingly heavy doses for an extended length of time, urine drug tests may identify the drug for up to seven days.
Saliva drug test
Also known as the mouth swab test, the saliva test is becoming an increasingly popular drug test for those looking for recent drug use. Adderall can be detected in the saliva within minutes of taking the drug and up to 48 hours afterward.
Hair follicle drug test
The ninety-day detection period for any and all drugs has a number of employers turning away from the urine test in favor of the hair follicle test. It’s more costly than either the urine or saliva tests. However, those who consider the ninety-day window an advantage willingly incur the additional cost.
Drug metabolites stored in the hair follicle exit the body by growing out into the hair itself. Thereby, leaving a permanent history of drug use determined by the length of hair. Human hair grows at the rate of about one-half inch per month. The standard test length is one and one-half inches which accounts for the 90-day identification period.
Varied detection times
It’s understandable that the length of time that a drug is identifiable in the system is drug-specific. However, the amount of time that a specific drug remains in the system can vary between one person and another as well.
A number of factors play a part in how long drug metabolites remain in the system.
- Dosage and frequency of use
- How the drug was consumed
- Whether the drug was extended-release or immediate release
- Bodyweight, age, and overall health
- Individual metabolism
Intervene on interaction
Misusing Adderall puts the user at risk of forming an addiction. Furthermore, certain medications interact with the drug and put the user at an even higher risk of addiction.
- Pain medications
- Antiseizure medications
- Blood thinners
- Blood pressure medicine
The negative effects of addiction
Amphetamines are notorious for causing the user to become anxious and irritable as the effects of the drug begin to wear off. Furthermore, the user can experience an Adderall crash that includes physical withdrawal symptoms that can last anywhere from 5 days to more than 4 weeks after discontinuing the drug.
They may include:
- Weight loss
- Fast heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Blurred vision
- High blood pressure
- Suicidal thoughts
- Worsening depression
Overdosing on Adderall is highly possible as the dosage increases due to tolerance. Signs of overdose include nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, fast breathing, chest pain, and seizures.
Ending on a positive note
If an employee tests positive for Adderall and doesn’t have a subscription for the medication, it’s certainly an indication of a substance abuse problem. Does your drug-free policy include reaching out to the employee by supplying a list of treatment options in the area?
A kind word in the midst of a dark moment can have a very powerful impact on which direction your employee will choose to take his life from that point forward.